Yesterday I had therapy. I feel like a lot of people dread going to therapy or don’t see the value in it. I’ve been those people at one time or another. It feels good to get it all out …but you don’t necessarily take anything from it. I’ve discovered after having this therapist for the past 6 months …that all of those times I felt that way were because I had the wrong attitude, or maybe the wrong therapist ha. I am currently seeing a phenomenal, intelligent, gifted therapist and she has really helped me with my struggles over the past 6 months. I can honestly say that I feel like I am improving and it is in large part due to biweekly sessions with her.
I just wanted to put that out there because I feel strongly about therapy. It can be REALLY beneficial. Yesterday, I told my therapist about the conversation with my husband. I was able to take her through each part of it again, and she was able to walk through the emotions I experienced with me. The breakthrough in this is that for the first time I was able to lead her. I was able to carry her with me through the initial anger, the frustration, the sadness and then eventually to the acceptance, the silver lining and the push to get better. I was able to take a situation in my life and approach it calmly… on my own. She taught me how to do this.
In the past I’d approached therapy like a reality TV show. I would go …tell them about all of the psycho moments I’d experienced. Each session I would introduce more characters with crazy stories… and it started to feel like I was going just to shock them with my day to day life. It was interesting to tell a stranger about my past and see them feel for me. I was there for the viewers but lacked the substance. I don’t know that I ever really had an actual desire to change anything. Maybe I thought just telling them about it would suddenly shift everything around for me and things would change on their own. Maybe I hadn’t been broken enough when I went to therapy before to allow it to help me. I don’t know what the answer is honestly. I just know that 6 months ago I walked into her office completely beaten down. I feared everything. The anxiety was too much. The OCD was taking over. I felt paralyzed with these emotions. Something had to change. She has guided me each step of the way.
I know people that refuse therapy. They think it isn’t beneficial. They feel dumb… or they feel scared. They feel like they don’t need it at all. I think everyone needs it at some point or another and they shouldn’t be ashamed. Being mentally healthy is critical. I’ll gladly go every other week if I can be a better mom, wife, daughter and friend. For these reasons, I’d like to share a few things I have learned in therapy so that maybe this experience can help others.
–Mindfulness. This is so important. Just being present in your life. God has blessed me with 2 beautiful children and a husband greater than any man I’ve ever met… and for large parts of each day I was missing them completely. I was in my own head. Dwelling. I was abandoning them to spend all day with my thoughts. This has happened so often and for so long. It is tragic. Being present in this life.. in this moment.. with your blessings. It is unbelievable. I told my husband that at one point I laughed whole heartedly with my son… and in that moment I felt truly present. I immediately felt pain in the pit of my stomach. I’d left my anxiety post and allowed joy to creep in. It felt scary. My husband couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t believe that I’d had so few happy experiences like this that my body didn’t physically know how to react to it. Over the years I’d programmed my brain to scan for danger. I’d programmed my body to respond with fear. There were no other emotions. There was “no time.”
I am in the process of retraining my brain. I am trying to teach it to fear a rational amount of things and let the rest go. I am devoted to being more present and I am seeing a change. There are many ways to become more mindful. One of the most beneficial tools I’ve used is the Insight Timer app. This app has changed my life. After only a few meditations… I could feel a change. They work in the moment to reduce anxiety and they work overall. There are such wonderful meditations. The loving kindness meditations are probably some of my favorites. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, anything really… please take time to download this app and meditate with me! Be receptive …it can help you. Try not to go into it with negativity. Approach it with an open mind and an open heart.
Another important thing that I’ve learned is that your mental health is a class that you have to work VERY hard at to succeed in. You have to do all of the work… you have to study it, practice it, live it, and work at it. Showing up for therapy and psychiatrist appointments does not get you an A. You have to do work. This may seem like a “duh” statement… but for a really long time I didn’t think it really mattered. I didn’t think I needed to work so hard just to exist peacefully. It takes work …and that’s okay. It takes time… and you’ll find it. You’re worth it. Some of us are blessed with the ability to live mindfully and peacefully with minimal effort, others of us have to fight like hell to keep the peace. (ironic huh?.) I am not going to dwell on why things are so hard… but instead I am going to try hard to make the best of them.
I hope this blog post helps someone… I hope that anyone suffering finds someone like my therapist that can help them. Tomorrow, I may feel horrible again. I may look back on this and feel like a fool for thinking I could feel better. –but that’s the beauty of living in the present. I have this moment now… and for now, it is wonderful.